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into emerald, or blazed with the color of the oriole's breast, his anxious eye brightened, and his face wore a proud look of triumph.
But with all this perfection of harmony melody was not neglected. The themes were given by the leading instruments with the utmost finish in details without in any way detracting from the breadth of design. The tones had a clearness and purity, and a soul-full expression like that which characterizes the performances of the perfect singer. So that as the concert proceeded, the legitimate suggestions of the music had their full weight with every heart.
Merely imitative music Herr Regenbogen is understood to esteem lightly. He would not attempt, except in burlesque, to portray, as Haydn has done, the tiger's leap, the trampling of buffaloes, the cooing of doves, or the surging of leviathan's tail. But in listening to his orchestra, all the varied sights and sounds of nature arose spontaneously to the mind. Trees with grateful coolness lent their shadows, and their leaves whispered to each other as the music softly rose. Birds swinging on pensile boughs, happy in the flood of melody that undulated through the air, broke into song as their rightful part in Nature's grand orchestra, of which Herr Regenbogen's was only a section. The breezes held their way silently; only, as the music grew loud, a sound as of the wind wrestling with the old oaks on some November's night, shook the heart with a momentary shudder, and then died away with a sigh. Little brooks tumbled down the hillsides, or tinkled into moss-rimmed basins in meadows. Larger streams swept on in placid beauty, or whitened and rushed in yeasty confusion over rocky slopes. The ocean, too, sublime in calm or storm, gave endless, low murmur, or, vexed by the winds, roared with all its angry waves upon the rugged coast.
With such associations the first part of the concert closed. One by one, the heavier instruments stopped, and the last note seemed to swoon away; you could not say when its breathing ceased. It was a sensation worth a year's life. I hardly knew whether I was still in the land of realities, while the pearly pink atmosphere overhung the dense throng. I could not turn from my revery and pass the intermission in glancing along the glittering ranks of the balconies, or in more narrowly scrutinizing my immediate neighbors. In my brain the symphony was repeated, and I was but too happy a listener.
Such a concert my friend Lowell attended when he wrote this exquisite fragment:
"Or in low murmurs they began
"And then like minute-drops of rain
The second part of the concert, according to the programme, was to consist of a new work by Herr Regenbogen himself. I awaited its commencement with curiosity not altogether free from apprehension; for so complete had been his success as an interpreter of the grand conceptions of others, that I feared he would be unable to maintain the interest he had aroused. A perfect conductor is not necessarily a composer, any more than a consummate actor is a poet or rhetorician. I knew that if there were any new orchestral effects possible we should have them. The harmonies would undoubtedly be at once massive and flowing, and the utmost good taste would temper the whole; but the freshness of originality might after all be wanting. I did not know Herr Regenbogen.
After a brief prelude the second symphony began; before a dozen measures were performed my apprehensions were at an end. The structure of every phrase showed the master; and the melody, salient, clearly defined, and bearing a meaning, beyond words, aflected me inexpressibly. As the painter who aims to portray the human form in various attitudes, and under the influence of different emotions, patiently studies anatomy, and reproduces on his canvas the minutest effect of muscular action in the living model, so, it seemed to me. Herr Regenbogen had studied the anatomy of the soul, until he knew how to awaken every sensation of which it is capable. Whatever effects he had observed in performing the works of the great masters, these he had used as studies in the treatment of the subject. With him the representation of the melting strain of love, the eager joy of hope, the fierce shout of rage, and tho sullen tone of despair, was not an accidental lucky hit; nor were his symbols mere conventionalisms; so exquisite was their adaptation, there was no mistaking the composer's drift; you rushed on with the music, and felt every emotion it was designed to portray. What wonderful force now attended each modulation, while with this music piercing to the innermost soul, the atmosphere displayed its chromatic changes!
The effect of constant attention had now become almost painful. I seemed to lose individuality and power of resistance. My whole being throbbed with the rhythm of the orchestra; and, as the "medium" or mesmeric subject is conscious of the presence of another soul in her own. so the very citadel of life seemed possessed by the genius of music, until I was helpless alike in my joy and in my dissolving tears. I was like a cloud driven by the wind, dyed by the sun's chemistry, and shivered by lightning.
For very relief from this overmastering influence, though it was as fascinating as opium, I determined to break away and to watch the effect of the music and the changeful light upon others.
A ruddy face near me while a flood of crimson poured down might have served Falstaff for a flambeau; anon it was overspread with a ghastly green such as old Roger Chillingworth wore in his later, evil days. His whiskers, that doubtless looked respectably brown while on his morning promenade, now bore the undecided hue that generally attends the efforts of the chemist to imitate nature. What an ordeal for shams was this zauberlicht! There was a maiden, a model of the reigning mode in dress and adornments, doubtless the beloved of some dry-goods clerk; her features arch, her eye dancing with an exuberance of spirits. What a fascinating creature she seemed while the soft rose tint prevailed! But just then an amber radiance was diffused, and her cheek, so delicately shaded before, told of cosmetics and artistic touches; her teeth, before pearls, were palpably just from the furnace of the dentist. "Dear me," whispered the once fair one with a shuddering self-appreciation, "I do hope the music will change from this horrid key; I never could abide four flats!" Her admirers seemed dubious as to the construction of her remark, and hesitated whether they ought to be abashed or affronted; meanwhile their cheeks rivalled the flitting play of colors on the dying dolphin. But with a sudden sense of the ridiculous she exclaimed: "If this should keep on, what a sight Madame
Partelott will be, to be sure! How funny to leave her monstrous head-dress blossoming like a bunch of yellow hollyhocks!"
"There comes dear old Mr. Fiftysix," said her younger and more rustic companion. "See his face rippling into smiles, like a film of cream breathed on by the dairymaid/' "Yes," rejoined the more experienced damsel, "and look, too. at his comical head. One can see now each separate simple of which his hair-dye is compounded." "Better make a note of them in time," said a voice that suggested an excess of free acid. I looked at the lemoncolored portal from which this ill-natured warning came, and remembered the face; it was one I had formerly admired; now it gave me an inward start. For, as [ looked, green reigned; and the eyes that had seemed so tenderly blue in the crystal light, were now dull like sea-water, or, at times, were lighted up with a sinister, feline lustre. Her hair, which curled so coquettishly, was now almost instinct with life in its crisp radiation. I even fancied each coil a serpent and herself the ancient Medusa. And if this be envy. I thought, how fortunate is it, that in the clear light which falls upon earth a veil is thrown over much that would otherwise render us miserable.
A young woman not many seats removed seemed to be giving her whole soul to the music. Sometimes she nodded or whispered a brief word in answer to her companion, but still she was a loyal subject of Herr Regenbogen. The companion seemed to be at the cross-roads; he looked at her doubtfully, for her face was not beautiful, and she used no coquettish arts of fascination. He evidently construed her undivided and eager attention to the orchestra as in some measure a slight to himself. With a less sympathetic organization, he could not appreciate that perfection in music which so enchained her. Soon there came a glorious strain, lofty and pure as the sky, and diffusing a mild, blue radiance. Nothing of enchantment ever equalled the effect of that azure light upon the plain features of the maiden. In her eyes the warmth of affection enhanced and softened the gleam of intellect, and a halo encircled her head like that which painters give to the Virgin Mother. I hoped the hesitating admirer would see her transfiguration; and he did. If he ever forgets that revelation he is no true man.
A diminutive figure with eyes like an owl, sitting by the side of a gay 1 ydressed woman, his wife, apparently, next caught my attention. How he came to the concert was a mystery; he was evidently out of place. His pockets were crammed with papers, and, totally indifferent to the music, he seemed to be correcting "proof" on the top of his hat Out of his waistcoat pocket a series of cylinders just appeared, which might have suggested the Pandean pipes, but on a closer view I saw that it was a physician's vadc mccum. This, then, was probably a member of the learned societies, one of the "eminent gravities" at college commencements, and a safe editor of old books, on whose title-page a long tail of initials is flourished. Could he find no place wherein to pore over his disentombed and useless erudition except in Beethoven Hall? Would the mousing owl leave the dismal thicket where he had so long lived solitary, and willingly come to the daylight gathering of gay birds? .Madame, his richly dressed wife, must surely have captured him for the occasion—and perhaps with him her other neighbor, a young man with handsome features, and with the visible impress of genius on his brow. Whenever the Doctor turned from his papers, it was to smile benignantly ujion the youth. What could be the bond of union between this inrongru Ius trio? The young man must be an author or an artist; some slight indicia favored the former supposition.
Just then the music swelled into a triumphant strain, such as might have greeted Napoleon (the Great) on his return to Paris. Every heart kindled at the sound. Madame stopped toying with her fan; even Doctor Owl crumpled his papers and looked about him as if in wonder at the visible enthusiasm of the audience, and at the unwonted brilliancy of the air; but the blood did not quicken in him; it could only doze through its stagnant canals as usual. The flush of exhilaration on the face of the ambitious youth was in strong contrast with the languid affectation of indifference in the woman of fashion, and with the skinny, parchment-colored face of Doctor Owl. Both of them regarded the face of the bright-eyed enthusiast with admiration. Presto! A change of the key brought a purple tinge. What baleful glances now seemed to shoot from the eyes of this strange pair!—the one eagerly selfish, heartless, while in the other the drooping eyelid, the slightly protruding lips and the heaving bosom, told the old, old story. '• Kly. young eagle," I almost exclaimed. "Yonder owl will pluck your wings to soar with; and his mate , if you
could see her face under this light, it would be enough."
A young man with silken moustaches and delicate features, his hands cased in spotless gloves, sat beside a girl who might in Paris have been taken for a grisette. Evident disparity in rank, as the world has settled it, raised a wall between them. True manliness might level it, but, alas, if he does pass over, how likely is it that it will be by stealthily climbing like a thief! While he whispered she cast her eyes upon her pretty foot that kept unconscious time to a delicious air. Under the influence of the music, which now was like I "edrai Carino in its tender simplicity, listening to the honeyed words which were breathed in her ear, the maiden was lulled into a dream of love. I almost thought that Herr Regenbogen had observed the net spread for her; for the key changed with a stunning violence. Crimson flushed the face of the suitor, telling of nightly debauchery, and from his eye glared a lurid flame. Could the simple girl have looked up the spell would have been broken. But she did not.
The unequalled excellence of this music, accompanied by the unearthly lights that glowed or trembled or danced through the air, appeared to me to evince such supernatural power, that I wondered at the comparative indifference which the audience manifested. It is true they were enthusiastic in their admiration, and applauded to the echo every marked passage; but it was merely such enthusiasm as I had witnessed when Jenny Lind sang; it was the tribute which genius in its higher manifestations always obtains. But this unheard-of art, which compassed all height and depth and mastered the very soul of the listener, and to which the elements of the material world seemed to be in perfect obedience, appeared to me to be but imperfectly appreciated. It was, doubtless, owing to the fact that Herr Regenbogen had wisely brought the audience by easy and almost insensible degrees, from their delight in merely mechanical effects up to the influence of the profoundest ideas that lie in the reach of the human faculties. Accordingly, whilst these last and almost miraculous results were produced, though the attention of all was riveted, yet it was not a painful or enforced silence: every one seemed at ease; and the occasional whisper, the sidelong glance, the adjustment of ornaments, the relief-giving change of position, all were part of the usual experience of concert goers. A few enthusiastic people seemed to me to sympathize with my own highly wrought feelings; and it relieved me to find myself justified by their example, so that I might be sure I was neither dreaming, nor pursued by the thick coming fancies of insanity.
Among the faces thus lighted up was that of a lady dressed in black sitting under the balcony with a bright boy of eight or ten years by her side. Poverty was not wholly concealed by her mourning garb, nor by the neatness which marked her own and her boy's appearance. Under the oppressive splendor her eyes were downcast, and her face pale. The boy looked up inquiringly, putting his little hand in hers. Again the key changed, and the hall was filled with an indescribable rosy and golden light, such as the west casts on mountain and cloud when the sun pauses on the horizon. A heavenly melody floated out upon the air, while every rare and delicate device of instrumentation was employed to buoy it up and heighten its beauty. Even the immortal trio in Don Giovanni never affected me so deeply. The widow's soft eyes were suffused with tears, and their upward glances seemed '• commercing with the skies." Was not the spirit of the husband near to enjoy with her that wondrous music, and to know with what tender affection she cherished his memory 1
My attention was soon recalled to the orchestra, for I heard the prelude to a new movement. A few violins, a violoncello, horn, flute, bassoon and harp, were detailed as an advance corps, leaving the main army to follow in reserve. Very few persons who have attempted to put their impressions of music on paper can be as ignorant as I am of the mathematics on which the science rests. I do not know the name of a single chord; and as for modulations I have not the least idea of the laws which govern them. Still, long experience as a listener, and an instinct which musicians tell me rarely errs, enable me to detect errors and appreciate excellencies even in the minutest effects. Therefore I cannot tell what charm Herr Regenbogen had given to this final movement; but it was beyond my highest conception. Airs danced to each other in ceaseless play, sparkling like gold fishes. The low tone that closed some delicate strain supported on its firm base a troop of melodies that came leaping and carolling after it; each of which in turn rested as the foundation for a new display. Then came a period of repose. The exuberance of spirits that had animated the principal
instruments subsided, and all blended into a choral strain so full and perfect in its harmony that another element could not be imagined. Over this stream of music
"Deep, majestic, smooth And strong,''
I heard the silvery vibrations of a harp as it was touched by a master hand; and I strove to catch the countenance of the player who could create such sounds. But the lights danced over the orchestra like ignes fatui. Mists seemed to envelope the harp as with a dim cloud that shook into widening circles with every vibration, forming a glory around it. I could see no object clearly. As in a battle the spectator sees through the smoke and the confused crush of men, now an arm with blazing sword, now a lance, now colors waving, and now a rearing horse, so in the spot whence the music issued, I caught glimpses of instruments and players through the rosy mist. And the harp seemed to be the same which is immortalized in the old ballad,—made from the breast-bone of a woman; for I saw the yellow hair glisten as those gentle fingers caressed it.
"A famous harper passing by,
Binnorie, O Binnorie, The sweet pale face he chanced to spy
By the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie,
And when he looked that lady on,
Binnorie, U Binnorie, He sighed and made a heavy moan.
By the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie.
He made a harp of her breast-bone,
By the bonny, he
The strings he framed of her yellow hair,
By the bonny, hc.n
With such delight the moments passed, that the loud shouts, the universal clapping of hands, and the general movement of the audience, first indicated to me the close of the concert. I did not applaud; the noisy tribute of hands and feet seemed a most unfit manifestation. I remained fixed upon my seat while the fading colors fluttered through the lofty room and melted in the cool ashy twilight that came in at the upper windows. When the musicians had all gone, when Herr Regenbogen had picked up the fragrant flowers that were now incontestably his, and the last straggling auditor was leaving the darkening hall, I stepped into the street, alone though in a crowd, and went to my solitary room.
A BROBDIGNAOIAN LOOK AT IT.
-"There la a gulf where thousands fell,
"Nine ttmes a day it ebbs and flows,
u I paw what had been of old the site of a city wall, but on which a 'Change had since come. Thereabout were men, not a few, mov inc to and fro willi earnest looks, bearing Itching palms in their hands. And I observed many standing in the receipt of custom, happy in being charged with heavy duties, and taking an Interest in everv thing but themselves. • * • And, again, another scene was spread before me. I saw men whtwe faces wore the wrinkles of care, thick as the stripes upon a convict's jacket Some of them were blind, but with minds of exceeding strength, grinding in prison-houses of stone; some were washing for diamonds; some hammering gold And. further on, were others in the stocks! and straightway I bethought ma of crtnica in the way of Commission, and of principles going by the Board."
"Tht Mctamorphotet of Labor.
NOT many days ago, in strolling through the town, I found myself, a little to my surprise, in the midst of Wall-street; and I could not help looking disrespectfully upon the Jews and Gentiles in concussion there. Somewhere in those years which lie between primitive adolescence, and my present advanced (?) period of life, and which I shall always regard as the Middle and Dark Ages of my experience, fate, and not free-will, saw me, in financial masses lost, a clerkly pedarian of this very street. And now as I stood there once more, a heretic to its Greed, I could not but look back with a sort of horror at the time when I labored there with thousands of others, old and young, mournfully realizing, how inevitably even my humble case had come under the Divine injunction that mart) only '■ in the sweat of his face should eat bread!" I do not mean to say, by this, that I was disposed to repine at a misfortune which had fallen on all mankind alike. On the contrary, I was prepared to struggle as hard as any body; only I dreaded much the being obliged to •'sweat my face" after the particular manner of Wall-street. For to be industrious there I felt to be no less than deliberately winding one's self into the thickest meshes of the curse; aud, of course, as deliberately putting all the finer feelings of the soul in jeopardy every hour.
In Wall-street, then, I fancied that I could see the malediction rampant—while, elsewhere, I could conceive it to be under some degree of restraint. Frequently as I cast my eyes over that blighted waste, and watched its fevered crowds rushing to and fro, I thought that if ever a curse did lift itself into a living, breathing, imperious reality, this one certainly did
there. Indeed it was no difficult matter to imagine Mammon to stand, amid those stony purlieus, like an invisible taskmaster, driving men with a lash of terrific excitements, as if they were but quarry slaves, to dig and delve far away from the free air and sunshine of a higher life. I remember how, even to my boyish mind, this slavery to the infatuation of accumulating wealth seemed almost to assume such a horrible aspect as this. It really appeared as if some diabolical power had let loose its malignant influences upon the street, and that the subtle influx had penetrated the very souls of men, till they all seemed possessed with but one common idea, and to be living under formative principles wholly adverse to those of their nature.
This will appear by no means a too forcible description, if any one will but take into consideration the natures of these men, while yet unsophisticated—when their finer sensibilities, purer tastes, deeper faculties, and diviner aptitudes had not begun to take a lower place. Then to see the great Natural Order of God designing man for one direction, and an artificial system of things whirling him in another, is a sight curious enough, and wonderful enough to amaze any one who is capable of being amazed or startled at any thing. I present the fact simply in a philosophic light; yet, as I write, there gathers also about it a sort of grandeur which might appeal even to the highest poetic sense.
I can recollect pondering upon all this then, and how sensuous the whole phenomena seemed! And I can remember wondering too (naturally enough, I think.) how I could take care of my life while pursuing the perilous process of getting a living. To get a living, and, at